As a wedding vendor going into my 21st year as a wedding filmmaker, I can tell you there are just some things that couples don’t often think about or simply understand. Today, I’m going to share with you a handful of things that vendors don’t tell those couples that get married.
A Full Time Vendor’s Product/Service is Their Livelihood
Sometimes vendors act like what they do is fabulous and fun (which it is of course), but they also make it seem like less work than it actually is. For some reason, a wedding vendor’s profession is immediately classified into a different “category” than say, an accountant or a realtor. Just because they’re providing you with a service or product related to your wedding, doesn’t mean that they’re any different than that accountant or realtor. I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again- vendors charge what they charge, and they charge it for a reason. If you have to, ask, but don’t barter or try to talk them down. It’s truly how they’re putting food on the table, not just fun and games!
Weekend’s Don’t Exist
Okay, well weekends exist for you, but unfortunately, not for wedding vendors. Weddings happen Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, as you all know. If you are requesting a meeting during the weekend, chances are good that you probably won’t be able to get one. And if you’re emailing/calling during the weekend, just know that you might not get an immediate response.
Since We Don’t have Weekends, Days off are during the Week
Vendors don’t have 2 free days during the weekend, because they’re most likely working those days. Because of this, “days off” usually occur during the week… even then, often times it’s only one day off. So when a wedding vendor doesn’t reply to your email in the normal speedy fashion on a Monday or Tuesday, it’s probably because it’s a “day off” for them- you know, trying to do laundry, buy food, clean- things that are necessary for a person to live. ;) Nowadays, most wedding pros will have an auto-responder turned on in their email, telling you this, but just in case, it’s helpful to be aware of this tidbit!
The Sticker Shock Price isn’t What We Take Home
People frequently assume that because weddings are expensive events, vendors mark up their prices just because they can. The truth is most of them aren’t. For instance, photographers generally spend just as much time editing photos after the wedding as the time they spend at the wedding itself. Right there, you divide a photographer’s total fee in half to start determining their hourly rate. Then deduct the cost of travel and an assistant if applicable.
Next, deduct business expenses like buying insurance, owning and tuning up expensive equipment, maintaining a website, and offering online viewing platforms for client pictures. Then deduct marketing costs for attending wedding shows, advertising, and more. Oh, and don't forget to deduct state and federal income taxes. Now their hourly wage is looking very different than it was before. The same math can be done for all wedding vendors. So if a vendor says that they can’t wiggle on price, then it’s because they truly can’t and still be a profitable business.
We Have Multiple Clients at the Same Time
Wedding vendors love to make you feel like you’re the only couple in their world, because they love what they do and they love helping you. In fact, what brings me an incredible amount of job satisfaction is making couples feel like they have a right-hand woman they can turn to at any point in their wedding-planning process.
However, despite their best efforts to make you feel like you're their only client, the reality is vendors are working with a number of clients and juggling multiple priorities. When emailing with vendors, it’s always helpful to group your questions into one or two emails rather than sending a number of one-off emails or texts. Sending dozens of emails makes it more difficult for a vendor to file all your emails away in a safe place, and keep track of all your information.
We all Accept Tips
Most vendors will say that tips are never expected, but always appreciated, and that is definitely true in many cases. However, it's important to learn which vendors to tip at a wedding. Waitstaff, bartenders, hairstylists, and makeup artists fall into a unique category, because it is standard to tip for these services no matter what the event or circumstance.
If a gratuity is not explicitly included in the contract, then you should be prepared to tip on the day of the wedding. The one caveat to this is business owners who provide the service do not expect to be tipped (for example, the owner of a salon would not expect to be tipped, while a hairstylist working at the salon would). For all vendors, it is up to you to decide whether the vendor went above and beyond what was expected, decide on how much you want to tip, and then dole out your tips from there.
Wedding vendors generally won’t tell you these things because no one wants to talk about these super awkward topics, but by keeping these in mind, you are much more likely to have an awesome relationship with your vendors. They'll be your A-team and will see you right through your wedding from the months leading up to the day until the very last glass of champagne is downed on the dance floor.